The composition derives from the full-length portrait of King Louis XV by Van Loo at Versailles. That, in turn, derives from his equestrian portrait of the King painted in collaboration with Charles Parrocel. The latter picture, in which the King's right hand is extended palm upwards, gesturing ahead, was commissioned by the Surintendance for Charles de Lorraine.
Both full-length compositions date from the year of the young King's majority in 1723; until that date, France had been governed by Philippe II, duc d'Orléans as Regent. The present composition goes even further towards making the monarch's personal rule its chief subject. The King is depicted gesturing towards the bust of his illustrious predecessor and great-grandfather, King Louis XIV; in the background is a statue of Justice in a niche, whilst at the base of the column is inscribed the Latin 'SIC' ('thus'), implying the manner in which the rule of his majority will be conducted.